Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield 500m north east of Bumper Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Hawnby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3277 / 54°19'39"N

Longitude: -1.1503 / 1°9'0"W

OS Eastings: 455359.241457

OS Northings: 492785.72573

OS Grid: SE553927

Mapcode National: GBR NLDD.RF

Mapcode Global: WHD86.9HH6

Entry Name: Cairnfield 500m north east of Bumper Castle

Scheduled Date: 8 February 1968

Last Amended: 16 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009358

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25528

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Hawnby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Upper Ryedale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes an extensive cairnfield covering the ridge of moorland
between Ladhill Gill and Bilsdale on the west flank of Wetherhouse Moor. In
all, some 270 features have been recorded including c.240 clearance cairns and
lengths of tumbled walling. The clearance cairns range from 1.5m to 6m in
diameter and stand between 0.2m and 0.7m high. Many of these are irregular in
size and some with hollow centres.
There is more than 580m of ruined walling interspersed amongst the cairns;
this is particularly concentrated in the south east corner of the site. The
walling is between 0.5m and 5m wide and generally lower than the surroundng
cairns, and lies in stretches from 6m to an exceptional 175m in length.
There are many similar examples of field systems on this area of the Hambleton
Hills. They provide evidence of territorial organisation marking the division
and exploitation of land for agricultural and social purposes.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

This monument has survived well and significant information about the original
formation of the field system and evidence of earlier land use beneath the
cairns will be preserved. This monument is associated with similar field
systems and other monuments of the prehistoric period on this part of the
Hambleton Hills. Similar groups of monuments are also known across the north
and central areas of the North York Moors providing important insight into
land use, agricultural practises, social structure and the exploitation of
resources during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pacitto, A, Survey Monument, (1985)
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993), 109-115
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993), 107-15
Pacitto, A, Survey of monument, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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